Show Racism the Red Card pilot scheme has 'dramatic benefits'13 May 2006

Show Racism the Red Card pilot scheme has 'dramatic benefits'

An anti-racism pilot scheme for children involving football coaching and educational workshops has had dramatic benefits.

The first evaluation of the Show Racism the Red Card project found that almost three-quarters of pupils with racist or negative attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees had changed their minds after taking part.

The pilot, in 17 Glasgow schools and involving 900 children aged 11 to 13, could be rolled out to every school in Scotland.

Organisers found higher levels of racism and ignorance in schools with the lowest numbers of children from ethnic minority backgrounds.

However, after watching videos featuring black players, such as Thierry Henry, and educational workshops, discussions, and coaching with professional footballers, more than 71% of those with negative attitudes had altered their views.

Initially, only 54% of pupils at St Philomena's primary, which has only three children from an ethnic minority background, said refugees and asylum seekers should be allowed to live here. After the pupils went through a workshop and coaching session, run by former Old Firm players Gerry Britton and Derek Ferguson, all agreed that asylum seekers should be allowed to live in Scotland and the vast majority said they understood refugees came here in search of safety.

Roddy McNulty, project co-ordinator, said: “The whole idea is to get pupils to understand and discuss the issues less formally with professional footballers they can relate to.”

(article originally appeared in The Herald.

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